Luke is a "third child" in a society whose laws forbid having more than two children. All of his life Luke's family has hidden him from the Population Police, a story that was introduced Haddix' previous book, Among the Hidden. In this sequel, Luke enrolls under a fake name at Hendricks School for Boys where he is confused, hazed and terrified, until he finds an unlocked door to the outside. Luke was raised on a farm and loves gardening and the outdoors, unlike others in his prison-like new home, where he can trust no one. The disquieting message of governmental control of population due to food shortages creates a suspense-filled plot that should fully engage readers in Luke's plight and outrage at being estranged from the world. In the end, Luke's strength of conviction to defy the odds bursts through the complex web of secrecy and deceit he finds at the school. Luke is heroic as he finds the solution to his dream¾helping other third children like himself to live a more meaningful life. This is a real page-turner;one that may challenge young readers to look at the odds as they try to make a difference in their own world. 2001, Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, $16.00. Ages 10 to 14. Reviewer:Elaine Wick
Luke Garner has been accustomed to the open spaces of his family's farm when not hiding from the Population Police. In a time when food and other resources are limited, it is against the law to have more than two children. After his parents broke the government's rule by having a third child, it eventually becomes too dangerous for Luke's family to keep him home. It is decided that he will attend an exclusive boys' school under the assumed name of Lee Grant. Hendricks School for Boys becomes a windowless prison where Luke submits to nightly hazing from one of the students he secretly refers to as "Jackal Boy." Luke notices that all the boys, afraid of the hall monitors and teachers, follow orders, keep their eyes lowered, and move as one throughout the school as they go to and from classes, meals, or indoctrination sessions. After Luke finds a door left open, he begins to make secret trips to the nearby woods. When he stumbles upon a secret meeting of boys and girls planning an escape from Hendricks and the neighboring girls' school, Luke is forced to make some life-threatening decisions about trusting other people and himself. Haddix successfully builds the tension and excitement in this quick-moving, easy-to-read sequel to Among the Hidden (Simon & Schuster, 1998/VOYA October 1998), the story of Luke's early life living in constant fear of being found. Although abrupt, the satisfactory ending will have middle and junior high school readers eagerly hoping for the next installment in Luke's thought-provoking story. VOYA CODES: 3Q 4P M J (Readable without serious defects; Broad general YA appeal; Middle School, defined as grades 6 to 8; Junior High, defined as grades 7 to 9). 2001,Simon & Schuster, 176p, $16. Ages 12 to 15. Reviewer: Brenda Moses-Allen SOURCE: VOYA, August 2001 (Vol. 24, No. 3)
In this sequel to Among the Hidden, Luke Garner, a third child born under the a futuristic government that allows two children per family, has been placed at the Hendricks School for Boys under an assumed name. The other boys mistreat Luke, who longs to read the final message given to him by Jen's father, hoping it will provide comfort. It doesn't. Luke looks for another way to feel solace and discovers an open door. Once outdoors, Luke remembers his days at his parents' farm and starts a garden. When he finds it ruined, he begins to look at the other boys and discovers they are strange. Only a few of them look him in the eye. Determined to solve the mystery of who ruined the garden, Luke discovers a group of boys and girls meeting in the woods. They are also third children, but Luke doesn't trust them completely. Is he justified in his mistrust? Could these boys have anything to do with the Population Police? This novel answers some questions posed by the author's first book, but leaves many more, which logically point to a third book in this series. Young readers will enjoy the story as they ponder the implications of living in such a society. 2001, Simon & Schuster, 172 pp.,
Lu Ann Staheli
Gr 5-7-Luke, a third child, hides quietly in his house, eluding the Population Police because he lives in a society in which families are only allowed two children. Now he has a chance to come out of the shadows by taking on an assumed identity and leaving home. This sequel to Among the Hidden (S & S, 1998) has Luke, now Lee, entering the Hendricks School for boys and a completely new existence where he feels lost and confused by his surroundings. He has gone from a furtive solitary existence to one in which he is never alone, from being desperate for company to being hazed by his classmates, particularly his roommate, "the Jackal." Lee learns to cope with the changes before him by escaping through the door to the outside. The story is artfully told with suspense and interesting twists. As Lee's confusion dissipates, readers begin to see what is going on. Lee is a fully realized character, developing courage and a true sense of self. Peripheral characters are not as fully developed, serving solely to further the story. Repeated references to Jen, another third child from the first book and martyr to all third children, may cause readers to wonder what they have missed. By the end of the story, the main character evolves into "L" and the author has created the possibility for another sequel. This compelling read can be enjoyed alone but it's sure to leave readers wanting to know the whole story.-Susan M. Moore, Louisville Free Public Library, KY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The unsettling, futuristic totalitarian society created in Among the Hidden (1998) continues in this equally compelling sequel. Having decided in the first novel to leave his family to attend school in the outside world, Luke Garner, an illegal third child in a world where food is scarce and only two children are accepted, begins this story with his arrival at a private boys' school for elite "Barons." With a fake ID obtained by a mole in the Population Police, Luke assumes the name Lee Grant. Although the story starts off slowly, the suspenseful plot picks up rapidly as Luke tries to blend in and adjusts to his new life away from his family and among strangers. He is quick to notice the odd behavior of the other boys and the strange arrangement of the school itself; he soon discovers that other "shadow" children like him attend the school and crashes one of their secret meetings. The height of the story reveals Population Police undercover agents disguised as students and Luke's attempt to save himself and the other shadow children. Luke is exposed to the truth behind the school and the adults who help run it, and must ultimately make another life decision. Thought-provoking issues, such as a government with too much power, raised in the first novel, as well as Luke's determination to change the world, carry on throughout this impressive sequel. In the end, Haddix leaves readers longing for more about Luke Garner. (Fiction. 9-13)
"Luke and his experiences are believable in this appealing, simple futuristic story. Kids who've read the first book will welcome this one."